South Africa’s poultry industry was “on its knees” because of government incompetence and negligence in providing basic services, financial newspaper Business Day wrote in an editorial comment.
Failures in the provision of electricity, water and rail services were “destroying the poultry industry and endangering the country’s food security,” the newspaper stated.
“This lament is all too familiar in SA, where companies such as Astral Foods, the biggest producer of poultry, are groaning under an extremely unfriendly business environment that has wiped out margins, slashed profits and forced them to jack up prices for the staple protein.
“Food prices have been declining for almost a year across the world, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, but not in SA, where even cheaper alternatives such as chicken feet and gizzards are becoming a luxury for South Africans.
“Some might argue that the poultry industry should adapt to the challenges and invest in its own infrastructure and energy sources, but this is absurd and unfair as it shifts the burden of public service delivery from the government to the private sector, which already pays taxes for these services.
“The government must stop sleeping on the job and fulfil its duties to ensure reliable and affordable water, electricity and rail services for all sectors of the economy, especially those that produce essential goods such as food. If not, it will face the backlash of rising food prices, lower consumer demand, job losses and social unrest,” Business Day warned.